The macula, an anatomical region located in the center of the retina, can be affected by deformities, the most common of which is age-related macular degeneration (AMD). As the name suggests, it mainly affects the elderly.
Three signs to be aware
Dromson Center ophthalmologist Matthew Nardin lists three signs that should alert you to possible AMD. Appearance of scotoma, that is, a definite central black spot in the visual field. Metamorphosis, in which straight vertical or horizontal lines emerge. And finally, a decrease in visual acuity. The Amsler Grid test, which is easily found on the Internet, allows you to test your vision yourself.
People who have any of these symptoms are encouraged to undergo optical coherence tomography (OCT) screening immediately. This painless and rapid medical imaging technique can diagnose possible AMD and establish follow-up.
“The public health challenge is to detect this attack as early as possible, as is symptomatic treatment for some forms of the disease,” explains Matthew Nardin.
We should then distinguish two types of AMD: the dry (or atrophic) form, and the wet (or exudative) form. There is currently no cure for the former, which will require regular monitoring.
The second results in the appearance of new vessels (or vasculature) under the macula, which can develop into edema. As Matthew Nardin indicates, there has been a “real revolution” in the management of exudative AMD since the mid-2000s, thanks in part to therapies specifically targeting the pathology. “Thirty years ago, these diseases were untreatable,” he says. Under local anesthesia, intra-vitreous injection (IVT) is performed in the vitreous behind the lens.
However, there is no cure for AMD. “This is a chronic disease that requires regular monitoring. Top-notch treatments make it possible to slow its development,” explains the ophthalmologist, who still emphasizes the importance of rapid treatment.
Finally, even if AMD primarily affects people over 65, he still recommends 50-year-olds get regular exams every three years.
Our lifestyle also plays a role in the onset of the disease, he recommends a balanced diet including fruits, green vegetables and omega 3. Tobacco use is also strongly discouraged.
Anas Kenek, coordinator of the Dromson Center, talks about macular diseases, the most frequently treated ocular pathology. “In 2020, many patients did not come out of fear of Covid and stopped their treatment,” she testifies nonetheless.
So she encourages the concerned people to take advantage of these days. Screening will be done without an appointment, at the cost of a standard service reimbursed by Social Security.
List of participating ophthalmologists: https://www.journees-macula.fr/presentation/les-centres-partenaires-des-journees
Analyst. Amateur problem solver. Wannabe internet expert. Coffee geek. Tv guru. Award-winning communicator. Food nerd.